Allon Offers Bill on Work Permits, Would Protect Israelis if Labor Market Swamped

Labor Minister Yigal Allon yesterday presented the Cabinet with a draft bill that would require non-residents of Israel to obtain work permits before seeking employment. Mr. Allon said that the proposed legislation was intended to prevent the Israeli labor market from being swamped by workers from the West Bank and other occupied areas who are willing to accept lower wages and might undermine conditions of work and pay in Israel.

But the law would also apply to foreign nationals in the country who have not registered as temporary or permanent residents. Mr. Allon said that special dispensations may be given by the Minister of Labor under the bill for certain types of jobs or enterprises.

Mr. Allon will shortly leave the Labor Ministry to become deputy prime minister in charge of the new Absorption Ministry. He is expected to be succeeded by Yosef Almogi. It was also reliably reported that Aryeh Eliav will be appointed deputy minister of absorption.

A total of only 300 Israeli civil servants are employed on the occupied West Bank to care for a population exceeding 700,000, according to the committee coordinating economic policy for the occupied territories. The aim, committee sources said, was to leave local administration in Arab hands as far as possible. The committee reported that unemployed residents of the Hebron area will be engaged to water Jewish National Fund forests in the Adulam zone south of Jerusalem. There is slight unemployment in the Hebron area but it is matched by a shortage of Israeli labor, the committee said.

Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan said in the Knesset (Parliament) yesterday that Israelis who want to spend more than 48 hours in any of the occupied territories must obtain approval at the national Government level even though the granting of permits is formally vested with the military governments. Gen. Dayan said this rule applied because visits to the occupied areas constitute “a political act.”

NEXT STORY